3 June-29 July 2020 Greece-from Messolonghi to Koronisia

We have left Messolonghi and spent one night for anchor for the first time this season😊
It’s a very special feeling to be completely alone on the water, the only sounds coming from a flock of goats on the nearby island of Petalas. This island is actually one of the Ionian’s but since 2011 there is no one living here!
A bit further out there were 20-25 knots in the gusts but in the bay-so peaceful and quiet…
We have really missed this!
The next day we continued towards Nidri. Bad weather was coming our way and we wanted to be in a safe place when that happened.
It’s a few days left until Hoppetossa is going out of the water and we have managed to get a place on one of the pontoons in Nidri where we will stay until then.
And we were just in time! The first night we had a lot of thunder and 50-60 knots in the gusts.
Nidri is a small town on the east coast of the island Lefkada in the Ionians and it’s the liveliest and most popular place for tourists on the island. If you want to read more about Nidri, we were here in September last year just before we started our winter hibernation in Messolonghi.
One day we were hiking up to one of the mountains above Nidri and after that we went to the famous waterfalls!
We were here in November last year, but the place is so beautiful that it’s definitely worth visiting many times.
It was a bit more busy this time and there was not so much water in the falls but the café was open so that we could have a nice glass of fresh orange juice in the sun!
There are flowers everywhere now, specially Bougainvillea, Passion Fruit and Morning Glory-also called Water Spinach.
In Asia it’s common to eat the leaves and stems fried together with garlic, chili, ginger and other yummy spices.
But the seeds contain a chemical similar to LSD that can be poisonous, so just the leaves and stems then!

Then it was time for Hoppetossa to go on the hard! Time flies and she has been three years in the water so it was really necessary!

The copper coat has done an amazing job but the propellers were not looking so good. Now we understand why we didn’t go faster than 5 knots on the engine!
Hoppetossa is our home so of course it’s a bit nervous to see her being lifted. But the guys on the yard were really professionals, they took their time and everything went very well.
After lifting they spray-cleaned her so well that it was not much left for us to do, except for the cleaning the propellers!
While we are working on her we have rented a lovely small studio/apartment that just happened to be within walking distance from the boatyard.😀 And immediately we had a cute little visitor that came by every day for a snack and a cuddle! Sweet little Graycie❣
After one week on the hard scrubbing, painting and repairing, Hoppetossa was ready to go sailing again.
And she seemed very happy to be out on the water, going like a dream! We are also very happy and ready for this summers adventures!😀
We can really recommend Konidaris Boatyard in Nidri with very nice, helpful and professional people!
Midsummer we spent on Meganissi , a small beautiful island just between Lefkada and the Greek mainland. We had the anchorage to ourselves!
Glad Midsommar🌺🌸
Happy Midsummer🌻
from the Hoppetossa Crew!🌼
We went for anchor in Preveza on the northwest coast of the mainland for a couple of days so that we could bunker up a bit. We like the town very much but are not so fond of the anchorage because it’s usually so crowded that people are almost on top you. This time it was only one other boat for anchor when we arrived. It is early in the season but the fact that people can’t or won’t travel so much due to Corona is of course making a huge difference this year.
It is now the 20th of June and the Greek borders are opening up for tourists on the 30th.
It’s a horrible situation for sure, but we decided to take advantage of it and sail to Paxos and Antipaxos, two of the smallest Ionian islands west of Greece, that are usually so full of boats in the anchorages that you can’t even squeeze a canoe in between them.  These are not places we would normally go to.
But here we are in a bay on Antipaxos with crystal clear water and a few happy families of seagulls as our only company.
Antipaxos is a tiny place, only 4 km long. About 100 people are living here  and there are no shops or real roads, only a scattering of houses and a few Tavernas! We think it is a small piece of Paradise💙💙
Being in the neighborhood we also took the opportunity to visit Paxos, Antipaxos slightly bigger sister.
Paxos is 13 km long from north to south and with three towns, or rather villages-Gaios, Loggos and Lakka.
We went to Lakka, a small fishing village famous for it’s unbelievably clear and intensely turquoise water.
In summer the big bay is usually hosting 90-100 boats but now at the end of June we were just 10 boats happily floating around.
Even our six legged hitch hiker/crew member Sixten🕷,
who has been with us since we left Messolonghi, working as our mosquito catcher, seemed to be so happy about this place that he suddenly left us!
Straight over from Lakka on the mainland lies the lovely port village Syvota with a small archipelago of three or four  islands depending on who you ask.  Agios Nikolaos, Mavro Oros and Agios Paraskevi are the three biggest ones.
All of them with their own beautiful sandy beaches.
During the Middle Ages, Syvota was part of the Byzantine Empire and the Despotate of Epirus and during that time the town was called Mourtos. After nearly 500 years of Ottoman rule, Syvota finally joined Greece in 1913.
We have been for anchor here for two nights enjoying this peaceful place.
But we  needed to fill up with water so we headed to Mandraki Marina on Corfu.
This Marina is very nicely situated inside the Old fortress in Corfu Town, Kérkyra in Greek.
The charming Old town that has grown up inside the Byzantine and Venetian fortifications is a labyrinth of narrow streets paved with cobblestones and full of colorful, beautiful houses. We like it very much!
We stayed in the Marina for two nights and then we went for anchor in the big bay outside of the town for a while.
One evening we had a thunderstorm, and as usual when this happens hard winds were coming from a completely different direction than they should, followed by big waves, and so we lost our anchor holding!😳
We took shelter behind the small island of Vidos opposite of the town and just had time for a nice dinner before the wind changed again and became quite viscous!
This was not according to the predictions so we decided to go to Gouvia Marina, and just before darkness we got permission to stay at their fuel pontoon for the night.
So, this is also a part of our life, it’s not always sunshine and fair winds!
Still, most of the time it is wonderful and we wouldn’t exchange it for all the butter in Småland (old Swedish word of wisdom)😀
It was now the 17th of July and we were going back to Syvota for a reunion with our friends from Licata,  David and Sarah!
After that our plan was to travel together with them to Parga, a town further down along the coast.
But when we arrived there we were met by speedboats with parachutes and children on tow racing around the boats in the anchorage at full speed! So we said Oxi (No) and decided to go to Gaios on Paxos instead.
The bay outside of the town was quite full so instead we found us a place in Mongonissi, a small bay 3 km south of Gaios. It seems that high season has finally started!
We walked to Gaios, stocked up on food and drinks and went on to Petriti, a small and lovely
fishing village on the east coast of Corfu.
We wanted to stay close to Corfu for a while to see if Linn and Alicia would be able to find a flight and visit us.
But the flights that were available were very expensive and with at least two stopovers, so that it would take them
20 hours or more to get here! It’s too much when you travel with a child!
We didn’t want to give up, but finally we had to realize that we will not see each other this summer, or as it actually turned out, this year!😥 😭
So we went to one of our favorite hiding places when it gets too crowded elsewhere or if bad weather is coming-The bay of the farting fish-Igoumenitsa😉
Here we are almost alone surrounded by herons, pelicans, some cows and of course a lot of jumping fish!
And suddenly our friends from Messolonghi, Max and Nina, came sailing into the bay and wanted to stay for a while to hide from the Charter Fleets together with us!
That cheered us up a bit!
A room with a view! Igoumenitsa
On the other side of the bay there’s a long beautiful sand beach.
It’s about 15-20 min walk and if you’re lucky you can get the company of the three lovely dogs from the small fishing harbor who are very happy to go for a swim with you!
Soon we will go south towards Preveza, Kefalonia and Ithaca, but not yet…
But finally we left Igoumenitsa and sailed towards Preveza to stock up. Our fridge was now in dire need of a refill after our long hideout in this lovely secret bay.
So we waved good bye to Max and Nina! We hope we will meet these lovely people again somewhere on the seas💕
When we arrived to the anchorage in Preveza it was so full that we decided to continue to Vonitsa in Amvrakikos Bay instead. This is a town we visited several times last year, and we like it a lot.
Being so close, we decided to visit our friends Alida, Auwert, Dora and Michaili in Koronisia just across the bay.
Another beautiful place we like a lot!
Looking back on this year so far, the theme seems to be about revisiting places, even though we have seen a few new ones like Meganissi, Antipaxos, Paxos and Sybota.
Corona is of course also playing a part this year. We don’t want to move very far away from a Marina we can return to in case the restrictions are suddenly changing.
But for now, see you in Koronisia….⛵